YOU HAD ME AT LFW #1

I dreamt I was late to J. JS Lee’s show. And what a tragedy it would have been…

A few hours later, reality struck me: Jackie Lee opened LFW as if it was her billionth time doing so. Although being among the lesser known additions to the schedule, it seems like the Seoul-born designer’s now far from the emerging talent etiquette she could be given.The collection? Think Savile Row reinterpretated for the modern business women. Empowering.

(credit: my iPhone…)

Silk monochrome houndstooth leg warmers giving the illusion of trousers when worn underneath matching dresses; heavy oversized tweed overcoats cut from brightly coloured French wool; tassel-belted waist bands, high fringed collars and voluminous deep scarlet and yellow mustard full skirts over chic palazzo pants, were the master pieces of her no-fuss and masculine but sexy collection.

And because details are what make a J. JS Lee collection, the hair tassels are just the new thing you’re going to want to be seen with. After rushing into Leyland SDM to get kind of Christopher Kane cable ties last season, you want to go to the haberdashery to get tassels. Now.

(credit: my iPhone…)

J. JS Lee left me delighted and grateful of another season of skirts over pants.

Two hours later at the BFC Show Space, I was waiting for Eudon Choi. Luckily for the early birds, the show started before the show. Watching the ballet of young people trying to keep the delicate carpet imaculate, flat on their stomach with sticky clean rollers or on their feet, trying to keep away the dissipated fashion lovers who stepped on it, was premium entertainment.

Poor lads weren’t even finished reorganising the rows when the lights went off and the first model hit the carpet. The navy wool trousers with slit openings completed their task. In a second, everyone was quiet, eyes and mouths wide open, admiring Eudon Choi’s hard work.

Inspired by abstract art and particularly the work of the two female painters Saloua Raouda Choucair and Helen Frankenthaler, the collection favoured graphic lines and fluid shapes, focusing on draping mixed with tailored structure, abstract seams and hemlines and contrasting panels of colour.

(credit: Eudon Choi)

If it had been a presentation, I would have spent hours turning around Look 18, a funnel neck knitted sweater with split opening sleeve worn with cotton shirt with bow tied cuff detail. Both already on my Christmas’ list.

No one was surprised when the show ended with Eudon’s signature piece, what he built his label on since he launched it back in 2009: a great piece of outerwear. The maxi length navy wool coat with asymetric wrap layer and lapel with rose gold snap fastening at the waist was a love letter to winter. More lower temperatures, please!

On my way to Elms Painting Rooms, I ran. I had only 30 minutes left to catch StevenTai’s quirky collection. When stepping on one of the many carpets assembled to create the illusion of an infinite patchwork, I felt like stepping into the designer’s world. Like he took me by the hand and said “Hey, let’s celebrate the awkward together!”

Welcomed by a lovely bunch of 20 something grannies, I immediately remembered StevenTai’s moodboard for his AW 2016 collection and how I felt about it: “Erm cool, at least someone remembers 50+ women are members of this world.” Although most women in the room were better-looking versions of Gigi Hadid and Alexa Chung, one of them was proudly over 70 and sipping English Breakfast like she couldn’t care less about you and me. She had to be your favourite. Amused by the situation, she chatted with bloggers and commented on people’s clothes like a grandma would.

(credit: Michelle Marshall)

What came out of the collection, though: no granny vibe. I didn’t think: “Oh so I have to dress like a I love playing bingo now.” Instead: comfort, warmth and practicability, as in these fantastic high- waist corduroy pants, pearl spectacles strings or long wool skirts.

Lost in a world of china, rocking chairs, tea and embroidering, the non-party girl that I am felt more than at ease. Happily trapped with thick stockings rolled bellow the ankle and pearl frilled suede loafers, the small impasse started to feel more like a maze that I didn’t want to get out of. I had to force myself to leave for Edeline Lee’s presentation.

On my way out, I stopped by Three Floor’s presentation. Although I liked the fairy setting and the pieces, I felt like I had seen them before. A bit of Self-Portrait dresses. A bit of Givenchy’s Resort 2016 peplum skirts with generous cutouts at the sides of the knees. Also, the constant comings and goings of the girls made it complicated to really pay attention to what they were wearing. Too slow for a show, not slow enough for a presentation.

But Edeline Lee made it right for me.

At the Vinyl Factory, probably too excited to discover her new collection, I rushed into the first studio I saw. It was busy. I pushed my way through the crowd and found a little spot were I could admire the collection without blocking the view. And what a view. What a SUR-PRI-SING view. Not really the one I was expecting.

(credit: notjustalabel.com)

Dual-tone neoprene skirts with slits and glitter rib; matching A-line skirts and oversize sweatshirts with vintage lace wings attached onto the sleeves; and sweatshirts in blended soft woold with circular hemlines and appliqué work in foam mesh.

An interesting work but not Edeline’s. The collection, that you can already shop on notjusalabel.com is the work of Little Shilpa, the eponymous label of Shilpa Chavan who works between London and India and has already collaborated with Lady Gaga and Bollywood.

In the second studio, more crowded, it was tough to make it to the first row. Not discouraged, I was quick to find the best spot to write about Edeline’s collection.

In a day-after-the-party kind of world, Edeline Lee gave us to see her re-interpretation of the evening as we know it. Between the comfort of functional, utilitarian black, calico and ivory pieces in heavy wool crepe for the stay-at-home people, and the money green lurex lamé leggings and skirts, or delicate floral double gauze with distorted floral embroidery made of silken, fringed threads, for the party animals, the designer makes us pick a team. For me it will be the “blankets around the body” kind of clothes, but you do you.

(credit: Theresa Marx)

I’ll have a bit of the Angelina Jolie look and Kristen Stewart attitude of the models as well, thank you.

Least favourite moment of the day: making the choice to miss Barrus and David Ferreira’s shows. Missing them for Miuniku and Rein’s presentations made it ok though. Back to Elms Lesters Painters rooms, I took the stairs that led me to Miuniku’s modern and pop little mermaids. As usual for Tina and Nikita, the colours were bright. The ideas as well.

I liked the bi-glitter zipped turtlenecks and asymetric skirts but the fitted jumpers hanging between the models and panels stole the show. In constant movement, the pieces with remarquable appliquéd detailing in a sophisticated colour palette of primary brights with earthy undertones, made the collection unique to its kind.

The cool pop and calming scene was a million miles away from what was happening downstairs at Rein’s presentation. There, I became overcome by something I hadn’t felt since my excursion to Weston-Super-Mare’s Dismaland in September. For the sake of Art — so I guess it’s fine, I felt threatened and a bit uncomfortable.

About ten young models dressed by Rebecca Morter and Gemma Vanson walked the room slowly, looking at people with contempt and mimicking their relationship to smartphones and cameras.

Instead of judging, the audience was judged.

As I am writing on my notebook, one of the models stands right next to me. She looks at my notes. It feels weird. I’m trying to pretend I’m ok with it but I’m frozen… Can’t write anymore. I laugh nervously (please someone help me). She grabs her phone, takes a selfie of us and walks away. Phew… What the fuck happened?

For AW 2016, Rein is still made of loads of black, laser-cut, see-through and sport chic, but mainly, a strong point of view on our society.

In the very different atmosphere of the posh Meridien Picadilly Circus, legendary Paul Costelloe unveiled his latest collection in front of a happy bunch of socialites with cheeks blushed by too many glasses of Champagne.

Absolutely everything felt like my childhood. Joe Cocker’s “Unchain My Heart” and the exaggerated hip swaying of girls who looked just like my babysitters did in the 90s, made me happy. Backcombed hair, eyeliner on the waterline and backpacks felt like 2016 would be a year of studying. But in a Camden Market way. Almost goth sometimes. Sharp, oversized military coats in warm red checks, modified painted herringbone and babydoll dresses in subtle transparent organza with lace and alluring burgundy jacquards added a dramatic edge to the classic style.

Paul Costelloe did good, once again.

Tomorrow, more designers making me love winter. Or not.

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